27 December 2021 by Published in: Jared Smith, Bible Reading No comments yet

A Transcript Of The Video Study

In our previous study, I attempted to show you how the Mosaic Covenant is aligned with the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. In essence, the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace are the two spiritual and perpetual covenants under which members of the human race are in relationship to and with God. Throughout the course of history, all unregenerate sinners (Jews and Gentiles) are in relationship to God under the authority of the Covenant of Works, whereas all regenerate sinners (Jews and Gentiles) are in relationship with God under the authority of the Covenant of Grace. As for the Mosaic Covenant, it was a national and temporal covenant designed only for the Jewish people as a nation. Technically speaking, it had absolutely nothing to do with one’s spiritual relationship to or with God. It dealt only with terms and promises connected with the Jewish nation, between the time God organized them into a nation around the year 1491 BC and the time God brought the nation to an end around the year AD 70. Having said that, there were elements of the Mosaic Covenant which reflected the Heart Law under the Covenant of Works and the Gospel Law under the Covenant of Grace, but these were only reflections of these two spiritual and perpetual covenants.

Let us now move forward to the subject of this study—To What Do The Labels “Old Testament” And “New Testament” Refer? Well, the two Testaments are divided by the birth of Christ in 4 BC. The Old Testament scriptures record God’s revelation of the gospel before Christ came into the world, whereas the New Testament scriptures record God’s revelation of the gospel after Christ came into the world.

Now, some people distinguish between these labels by viewing the Old Testament as that of Law, but the New Testament as that of Grace. You will hear them say, “God dealt with people during the Old Testament era according to the Law, whereas He deals with people during the New Testament era according to Grace. The Law kills, but Grace saves. We live under the age of Grace, and are therefore blessed with salvation in Christ.” Of course, if this be true, then the question which follows and is never answered with clarity or consistency—If the Law kills and Grace saves, then how were sinners saved during the Old Testament era?

Many who hold this type of view will often think of the Law of the Old Testament to be one and the same with the Law of Moses. Henceforth, they think of the Old Testament as a revelation of God’s law under the Mosaic Covenant, and the New Testament as a revelation of God’s grace under a New Covenant. They believe sinners were saved during the Old Testament era under the Mosaic Covenant, or the Law of Moses, whereas sinners are saved during the New Testament era under the New Covenant, or the grace of God in Christ. And at this point, one must listen very carefully to how they frame these issues. Because they know sinners are saved by grace and not by works, they cannot consistently maintain the position that sinners who lived during the Old Testament era were saved according to their obedience to the Mosaic Law. So, they will change the language to make their view appear more agreeable with the scriptures. They will say, “Sinners have always been saved by grace throughout the course of history, sometimes it has been by the grace of God enabling sinners to keep the Law of Moses, and other times it has been by the grace of God enabling sinners to believe on Christ.” Do you see what they have done? Rather than changing their doctrine to conform to the gospel of Christ, they have changed the language in order to conform the gospel of Christ to their doctrine. It is a crafty use of language. Just because someone speaks of the grace of God, does not mean he/she understands what the scriptures teach concerning the grace of God.

Now, there are others who also believe the Old Testament is all about Law, but they do not think it is the a reference to the Law of Moses under the Mosaic Covenant. Rather, they think it is a reference to the Heart Law under the Covenant of Works. They view the Old Testament to be a revelation of the Heart Law under the Covenant of Works, whereas the New Testament is a revelation of the Gospel under the Covenant of Grace.

Now, I do not believe any of these views are the proper way to understand the distinction between the Old and New Testaments. You may be surprised to hear that these labels are not referring to two separate covenants at all. Rather, they are speaking of one and the same covenant—the Covenant of Grace. The Old Testament (Covenant) is a reference to the Covenant of Grace and the New Testament (Covenant) is a reference to the Covenant of Grace. The difference between them is the way in which God revealed the Covenant of Grace throughout the course of history.

The way in which God revealed the Covenant of Grace prior to the birth of Christ is called the Old Testament, and the way that God has revealed the Covenant of Grace after the birth of Christ is called the New Testament. During the Old Testament era, the Covenant of Grace was first revealed to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, after they transgressed the heart law and violated the Covenant of Works. Thereafter, God continued to reveal the Covenant of Grace each and every sinner He had set apart as special objects of His love. That revelation came to them in their hearts, when the Spirit of God regenerated their souls, granting them new life in Christ. Their spiritual eyes and ears were opened, insomuch that they could see the glory of God in Christ, and hear the voice of the Savior. This was true of Adam and Eve and all others throughout the course of the Old Testament era. After Christ came into the world, God continued to regenerate His people, revealing to them this same covenant. However, with the advent of Christ, the saints of the New Testament era have a greater knowledge and deeper understanding of the gracious covenant, for Christ has come into the world and they can more clearly see the masterplan of God for the ages through Him. Nevertheless, it was the same gracious covenant, the same electing love, the same redeeming grace, the same regenerating power, the same saving faith which belongs to and is connected with each and every sinner throughout the course of history—from Adam and Eve to those of us living today.

A very helpful way to understand the distinction between God’s revelation of gracious covenant during the Old Testament era, and His revelation of the same covenant during the New Testament era, is to view the one as a revelation under the moonlight, and the other as a revelation under the sunlight. Before Christ came into the world, the saints of God were living, as it were, under the moonlight. God’s revelation of the gracious covenant was sufficient to save and edify regenerate sinners, from Adam and Eve to those who lived in the days of Christ. However, there were many things about the Covenant of Grace which were hidden in the shadows. God’s revelation during that time was dim. Much of what the Old Testament saints saw was in the form of silhouettes on the horizon of Christ’s coming. However, once the Sun of righteousness had risen, the shadows of the night were driven away and those things which were once obscure, could then be clearly seen. Henceforth, we who live during this New Testament era are living under the sunlight of God’s revelation. And, not only are we blessed with a display of God’s gracious covenant upon our hearts by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, but we are also blessed with a complete written revelation—the Bible—which fully declares the glory of God in Christ.

And so, the Old Testament is all all about God revealing the Covenant of Grace to His elect people leading up to the birth of Christ, and all of those saints were therefore looking forward at the coming Messiah. Whereas the New Testament is all about God revealing the Covenant of Grace to His elect people after the birth of Christ, and all of His saints have forthwith been looking back at the Messiah who came. Of course, we also look forward to the second coming of Christ, for though He has already come in lowliness and humility, He is coming again, in great power and majesty.

Well, this is my answer to the question—To What Do The Labels Old Testament And New Testament Refer? The labels refer to the Covenant of Grace as God has been pleased to reveal the gospel of His salvation throughout the course of history. Henceforth, when reading through the books of the Old and New Testament scriptures, the leading message of the Bible is the gospel of Christ according to the gracious covenant of the TriUne Jehovah.

Jared Smith



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